About a week after I got back from the UK, when it became clear that this cycle was a bust as far as Project Procreation, I said “fuck it, I’m going to go run IMS Arizona.”
Now some us (ahem, SkinnyRunner and Lisa) can run marathons in back to back weekends, but, generally speaking, this is not smart for most of us. In fact, it’s arguably foolish to PR attempt more than 4 marathons a year.
But I was feeling stubborn and knew that if I didn’t run it, I’d sit there and wonder what if I could have broken 3:40. I’ll spare you the suspense: it didn’t happen.
It went something like this:
Weather at the start was perfect. I was on pace – in fact, a bit ahead of schedule through mile 20. The 3:40 pace group had caught up with me around mile 19 – I hung with them for through mile 22 or 23, I can’t remember. All I know is that around mile 21 my quads were seizing up. It had gotten warm – around 70 up from 49 degrees at the start – I was drinking much more water than I had at Carlsbad. In fact, I ran out of my belt stash and had to use water stations from 23 on.
Knowing that the marathon is in huge part, mental, I willed myself through mile 22 with a on-pace split. Seriously, I have never done this in a marathon where I tell myself that the pain is just a wave, it’ll pass, and force myself to ignore it.
However, at some point, the body will refuse to listen to your head. And for me, it happened en route to mile marker 23. I refused to give up. I knew that 3:40 was gone, but, dammit, I am proud of myself for not giving in and walking the rest of it. And I know I was giving all I had because around mile 25, I was feeling dizzy and my vision was a little weird (like I felt slightly cross-eyed and spectators looked kind of wonky). I don’t know if that means I was low on salt (I was taking salt tabs) or dehydrated or what, but something in my electrolyte/water balance was off-kilter.
My pace slipped from 8:20 to around 9:30. Interestingly, only a couple people passed me so I think the majority of the finishers around me were battling in the same way. Maybe it was the dryness or the swing in temps from start to finish but the end was rough. The best kick I could muster was something around an 8:40.
Now, whoever did the timing of this race, screwed something up. My gun time was like 3:44:08. I didn’t start at the front. My garmin had 3:44:06 an I stopped it a second or two late. When I walked passed the results, it had me listed with a 3:40:14. Um. no. I told the girl at the solutions desk and she really didn’t seem to be of help (I think she was just a volunteer – not necessarily knowledgeable in race timing). Later in the day, they posted two sets of results. One appears to be gun time where I am listed with a 3:44:08. The other has chip time and split times, that one has the wrong 3:40:14 with what seems like an accurate half-time split of 1:49:02. So, part of me is kind of glad it didn’t work out because I’m not sure they are going to be able work this out correctly – everyone will be stuck with gun time, looks like.
- I am able to push through pain better than I thought.
- Three weeks is probably not enough time between marathons unless you are running one of them for fun. Trying to PR in both is a recipe for disaster for most humans.
- Feeling how sore I am today (this is the sorest I’ve been post-marathon since 2003) I know I need a proper 3 week recovery.